Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, “rock star” chaos theorist
“Isla Nublar”, 120 miles west of Costa Rica, Summer 1993
Film: Jurassic Park
Release Date: June 11, 1993
Director: Steven Spielburg
Costumes: Mitchell Ray Kenney, Sue Moore, Kelly Porter, and Eric H. Sandberg
International Dinosaur Day is celebrated twice a year, always on June 1st but also the third Tuesday in May, making today—May 19, 2020—the first observance of Dinosaur Day for the year. Why the chaotic timing?
The answer to questions like that may rest with a chaos theorist like Dr. Ian Malcolm, the swaggering, skeptical, and somewhat frantic mathematician portrayed by Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, adapted from Michael Crichton’s novel.
“I bring the scientists, you bring a rock star,” the park’s exuberant founder John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) comments upon the first impressions that Dr. Malcolm makes on Hammond’s distinguished guests from the scientific community, Drs. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern).
“You’ll have to get used to Dr. Malcolm, he suffers from a deplorable excessive personality… especially for a mathematician,” Hammond adds. “Chaotician,” Ian corrects.
Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, charming American con artist and sophisticated sociopath
on Mediterranean Sea off Italy, August 1959
Film: Purple Noon
(French title: Plein soleil)
Release Date: March 10, 1960
Director: René Clément
Costume Designer: Bella Clément
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
As I leave for my annual week at the beach tomorrow, I’ll be hoping to channel the style—if not the discomfort and petty cruelty—of the idyllic-looking, sun-drenched Mediterranean voyage where sociopathic American con man Tom Ripley (Alain Delon) forms an uncomfortable seagoing trio with the brash, arrogant playboy Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet) and Philippe’s demure girlfriend Marge (Marie Laforêt). Continue reading
Larry David as himself, a neurotic comedy writer
Los Angeles, Summer 2002
Series: Curb Your Enthusiasm
Episode: “Chet’s Shirt” (Episode 3.01)
Air Date: September 15, 2002
Director: Robert B. Weide
Creator: Larry David
Costume Designer: Wendy Range Rao
The comedian, writer, and creator of Seinfeld was born 72 years ago tomorrow—July 2, 1947—in Brooklyn. After a career spent behind the scenes, first as a writer on Saturday Night Live before he teamed up with Jerry Seinfeld, Larry finally decided to take a primary role in front of the camera by portraying an even more neurotic version of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm. What began as an hourlong HBO special has turned into ten seasons and counting of an improvisational comedy masterpiece.
Larry’s latent passion for menswear rears its head in “Chet’s Shirt”, not only regarding the titular top but also his choice to make a major investment in an elegant new restaurant… Continue reading
Joe Pesci as Vincent LaGuardia “Vinny” Gambini, fledgling defense attorney
“Beechum County”, Alabama, January into February 1992
Film: My Cousin Vinny
Release Date: March 13, 1992
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Costume Designer: Carol Wood
Happy birthday to Joe Pesci! Though the 76-year-old actor has been mostly retired from acting over the last two decades, he’s occasionally stepped back into the camera lens for a few sporadic screen appearances, most recently a Google Assistant ad that played during Super Bowl LIII and his latest collaboration with Martin Scorsese, The Irishman, scheduled to be released this fall.
Following his notable Oscar win for Goodfellas—and his short, humble acceptance speech that consisted solely of “It’s my privilege, thank you”—Pesci had some fun parodying his excitable screen persona in comedies like Home Alone, the Lethal Weapon series, and My Cousin Vinny.
Al Pacino as Tony Montana, impulsive and hotheaded cocaine dealer
Miami, Summer 1981
Release Date: December 9, 1983
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris
Tailor: Tommy Velasco
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Brian de Palma’s 1983 drug epic Scarface celebrated its 35th anniversary yesterday. A remake of a 1932 gangster film that itself took inspiration from the life of Al Capone, Scarface met with negative critical reception at the time of its release though it was a box office hit and racked up Golden Globe nods for lead actors Al Pacino and Steven Bauer.
As in the 1932 version, one scene finds the rising gangster returning home to flaunt his wealth in front of his concerned mother (Míriam Colón) and his devoted sister (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Waiting out by the car is the gangster’s flashy young pal, who catches sight of the gangster’s younger sister and is immediately smitten. Continue reading
Steve Martin as Vinnie Antonelli (aka Tod Wilkinson), ex-Mafia informant
Fryburg, California, November 1989 through summer 1990
Film: My Blue Heaven
Release Date: August 17, 1990
Director: Herbert Ross
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi
You know, it’s dangerous for you to be here in the frozen food section… because you could melt. all. this. stuff.
Steve Martin’s smooth-talking Vinnie Antonelli finds post-Mafia lifestyle to be more and more amenable in My Blue Heaven as he builds a suburban criminal empire and seduces a floozy in the frozen aisle of his local grocery store. Continue reading
John Travolta as Tony Manero, aimless paint store clerk and disco god
Brooklyn, Spring 1977
Film: Saturday Night Fever
Release Date: December 14, 1977
Director: John Badham
Costume Designer: Patrizia Von Brandenstein
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
This week marks the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Saturday Night Fever, the definitive film of the disco era. Often remembered for its soundtrack and street style, a closer look reveals an uncompromising film that wasn’t afraid to explore the dark themes that lurked beneath the era’s glittery polyester veneer, all propelled by an equally uncompromising star turn from a 23-year-old John Travolta. Continue reading
Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, proudly old-fashioned Deputy U.S. Marshal
Harlan County, Kentucky, March 2010
Episode: “Fire in the Hole” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: March 16, 2010
Director: Michael Dinner
Creator: Graham Yost
Costume Designer: Ane Crabtree
BAMF Style concludes this weeklong focus on first episodes with an outfit from the pilot of Justified, one of my favorite modern crime shows.
Justified‘s pilot has a special place in my heart for being filmed in southwestern Pennsylvania, just outside my hometown of Pittsburgh. According to a June 2009 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the region was chosen for both aesthetic and practical reasons as a viable double for the South but with a tax rebate for film and TV productions that Kentucky doesn’t offer (or at least didn’t offer at the time.) Continue reading
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New Jersey, Fall 1998
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Meadowlands” (Episode 1.04)
Air Date: January 31, 1999
Director: John Patterson
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy birthday to James Gandolfini, born September 18, 1961. The celebrated late actor revolutionized television with his portrayal of troubled mob boss Tony Soprano on HBO’s The Sopranos from 1999 to 2007.
“My uncle, he’s got me in a box where I gotta do something I don’t want to do,” bemoans Tony at the outset of “Meadowlands”, the fourth episode of The Sopranos and the first without an on-screen murder. “Then there’s my mother. I pay four grand a month for this place, and she acts like I’m an eskimo pushing her out to sea.” Continue reading
Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent
South America, Spring 1971
Film: Diamonds are Forever
Release Date: December 17, 1971
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Master: Ray Beck
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair
Making mud pies, 007?
Did you know that today, August 19, is National Potato Day? In Diamonds are Forever, James Bond’s hunt for vengeance after the events of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service leads him to an undisclosed location in search of his enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who has taken to cloning himself in order to form a group of decoy doubles to distract 007. Part of the pre-operation procedure consists of a volunteer decoy resting in an 80°F mud bath (while armed with a revolver, for some reason), and that’s where National Potato Day comes in. Continue reading